Stages of Childbirth Labor
Herbs For Labor Induction
The Whirlwind of Labor and Childbirth
Labor Contractions
Labor Cramp
Food During Labor
Labor Nurse
Labor Pain
Natural Labor
Pregnancy Labor Stages
Prodromal Labor
Signs of Labor
Walking and Labor Induction Facts
What to Pack For Labor and Delivery

Labor Contractions

Early cramps and contractions

True labor cramps may begin two or three days prior to delivery and are usually felt in both the abdomen and lower back. In the beginning they will be infrequent but will become more regular, intense and can be accurately timed. Walking or resting will not alter the pattern or make them less intense (although it may give the mother a better feeling of control of her body). These contractions may become powerful, increase in frequency and last for longer, then, just as the pregnant woman thinks that she is ready to go to the hospital or birthing centre they will suddenly stop. If this is the case then mum should take advantage of the break and if at all possible get some sleep, she may feel disappointed or even concerned that something has gone wrong but this phenomenon is very common. As long as baby continues to move then there should be nothing to worry about. (As the baby’s head may now be engaged movement may be reduced and feel different to the movements she has previously been feeling) As always mothers should get professional advice if they are at all concerned, a telephone call can help assess all of the factors and reassure everyone involved.

During contractions the uterus is tightening and relaxing and the abdomen will feel firm to touch during the contraction, the upper part of the uterus is thickening and the lower section will be stretching and relaxing, preparing the way for baby to travel into the birth canal.

Contractions and the delivery

As labor progresses the contractions will draw closer together, women will have been advised at what point they should make contact with their medical team but generally this will be when the contractions are regularly 45- 90seconds long and 5 minutes apart.

In between contractions many women like to move around freely but will need to be examined regularly so must be prepared to allow the nurse or doctor to do this. Some women will be able to doze off between contractions, especially if they have been given some pain relief. Various pain relief options will have been discussed prior to delivery and pregnant women quite often make a birth plan so that everyone involved in the delivery can refer to the mothers wishes during the actual delivery. Some women will have made clear that they have a preference for a natural delivery with no pain relief, some will have decided to accept some pain relief and others will want to take advantage of the strongest pain relief that is available. Whatever choice was made during the planning process women may still change their mind during labor and all decisions must be taken in their context.

The birth partner can help enormously just by providing a calm voice, a strong hand to grasp or soothing hands to gently rub the back or abdomen during each contraction. But in between contractions they can provide sips of water, assistance with moving about and general fetching and carrying.

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